Race Weekend Central

The 10: Chasing in Chicagoland

 The first round of the Chase has come and gone, and much like last year it’s Toyota that’s taken the early advantage.

The Hendrick Motorsports duo of Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott emerged as legitimate contenders in the first round of NASCAR’s playoff, but in the end it was Furniture Row Racing‘s Martin Truex, Jr., that took the lead shortly after the final restart to claim his third win of the year. However, the success of both teams came with a bit of controversy when both Truex and Johnson failed post-race LIS inspection.

Truex’s victory will still advance his team to the Round of 12, but was it enough to elevate the New Jersey driver to the top of the power rankings?

Let’s see.

POWER RANKINGS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Edition

1. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (90 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Clearly the class of the field right now, penalties notwithstanding.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“No surprise to see him start the Chase off well.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Logano’s driving a car decked out in photographed memories throughout Team Penske‘s 50 years during the Chase. If he can keep performing like he did at Chicagoland, he may add another championship memory to the list.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

4.  KYLE BUSCH (63 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“A great late-race rally earned Busch an eighth-place finishing and kept him in the top tier in the Chase standings – a remarkable comeback for what could have been a disastrous day for this team” – Pete McCole, Autoracing1


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“I don’t think we’ve heard the last from Harvick in this round of the Chase.” – Utter


 6.   DENNY HAMLIN (46 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Does the Richmond win mean that he has his flat track mojo back? New Hampshire will be a very good race for the No. 11 team if he does.” – Gable


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“So close, yet so far. Chase will get one soon.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Joe Gibbs Racing has been fast, but the No. 19 team’s going to need to step it up if Edwards is going to do any more back flips in 2016.” – Bearden

9. MATT KENSETH (22 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Too fast on pit road, not fast enough to contend for the win, but not in bad shape after the first race of the Chase.” – Gable


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Not the start to the Chase most – including himself – were expecting.” – Utter


These two drivers look like they’ll be on the right side of the bubble going into New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but they aren’t quite where they need to be yet, both on-track and in our power rankings.

Jimmie Johnson (114 Points) – “Throwing away a race with a speeding penalty? Bad. Throwing away a race with a speeding penalty with a cheated car?” Cringeworthy.” – Bearden

Jamie McMurray (11 Points) – “Keep an eye on him. Whether or not he advances could come right down to the wire, as it did last year.” – Gable

Others receiving votes: Kasey Kahne (4), Ryan Blaney (2), Alex Bowman (1)


Dustin Albino@DustinAlbino
Phil Allaway@Critic84
Aaron Bearden@AaronBearden93
Summer Bedgood@SummerBedgood
Tom Bowles@NASCARBowles
Greg Davis@GregMDavis
Sean Fesko@TheWriterSean
Michael Finley@FinleyFactor
Bryan GableN/A
Tony Lumbis@TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery@ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford@surfwax83
Jason Schultz@NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin@JosephNASCAR
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
Brian Eberly@beberly18Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest
Mike Hembree@MikeHembreeWriter, USA Today
Ben Hinc@lemonlovrOwner, The Apex
Jerry Jordan@kicknthetiresOwner, Kicknthetires.Net
Pete McCole@PeteMcColeNASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com
The Orange Cone@TheOrangeConeI am an orange traffic cone.
Kyle Pokrefky@KPokrefkyWriter, The Fourth Turn
Reid Spencer@Reid_SpencerLead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service
Doug Turnbull@DougTurnbullAnnouncer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Jim Utter@jim_utterNASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com

How they’re made: Following the conclusion of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, members of a voting panel, including Frontstretch writers, members of accredited media including Motorsport, NASCAR and USA Today, as well as writers from other sites and social media favorites, submit their top 10 drivers for the Power Rankings. The drivers are then given points based off their position, with first place getting 10 points, and each subsequent driver getting one fewer point until the 10th-place driver, who gets a lone point. Points are then tallied, and the rankings are created.

Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone got snubbed, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell others what your top 10 would be.

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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